I don’t have all of the answers, and I don’t pretend to. I’ve spent the last few years of my life trying to understand my body and to make sense of my desire to sometimes (which used to be all the time) unhealthy amounts of food. And while I’ve learned a lot about myself, I’m still trying to figure some things out.
And last week during my behavioral psych class in which we were discussing hormones and stress, I realized that some of my actions (one in particular) hurts me much more than it helps me.
If you read my blog or if we’re connected through Facebook or follow me on twitter then you probably know that I weigh-in on Thursday evenings. You may have also noticed that my food intake changes drastically on Thursdays before weigh-in (stupid, I know…) I tend to eat the same thing every single Thursday before weighing in, and I definitely do not eat enough.
For the record, I also wear the same outfit every week. (Yes, I’m that person.) During the first year of my weight-loss, I wore the same dress every week (even on cold, snowy days in NY.) I wore the dress until it was 10 sizes too big, and I’ll my current weigh-in dress until it’s 10 sizes too big too. It’s just what I do. I don’t do it out of superstition. I do it because it’s hard weighing in at 6pm every week. Our bodies change so much throughout the day, everyday, that I do everything I can to control the variables that I can control before stepping on the scale which brings me to my next point…
Actually first, let’s talk about what I’ve been eating before 6pm over the last 6 weeks or so. On a typical day by 6pm I have eaten a green smoothie with whey protein powder or Greek yogurt, spinach/kale, banana and strawberries and milk…I may have also eaten an egg with two egg whites for breakfast with a little patties of turkey sausage wrapped in a carb smart tortilla and a pear with a separate salad of leafy greens (3-5 cups) and cucumber and tomato sprinkled with garlic pepper. And I’ve had at least half a gallon (8 glasses) of water…usually more.
On a typical Thursday by 6pm all I’ve eaten is 3 cups of leafy greens, a banana and another piece of fruit like an apple or a pear. (Yes, that’s all, and like I said, I know it’s ridiculous.) And after years of this habit of eating too little on Thursdays, it’s hard to change. It’s hard to accept that if I eat more this Thursday than I usually do on a Thursday, this week’s weigh-in won’t reflect the effort I put in all week. And I’ve put in effort again this week.
But after sitting in class last week, as we discussed the long-term effects of our eating habits, cortisol, endorphines, etc. I realized that I’ve been doing myself more harm than good on every weigh-in day since day 1.
And look, I’m not dumb. I know it’s not smart to starve myself all day because I’d rather see a number I like on the scale. I also know it will even out after next week. And I know that my history proves that when I’m doing what I know I should be doing, I lose weight. And I realize that if I’m not starving by the time I weigh in, I am less likely to overeat later. I’m also more likely to stop at the gym on my way home because I can wait to eat until after my workout.
So before my next weigh-in, I will change my routine. I will eat as I normally would before my weigh-in and drink water as I normally would as well because that’s what is better for my body long-term even if I have to take a hit on the scale.
It’s so obvious as I write this out that the numbers mean too much to me (even though I do believe they should matter.) They play games with my head that I didn’t even realize they played, and it’s hard to change. But I’ve done a lot of things lately that seemed hard before I did them, and the rewards have been great. So at my next weigh-in I’ll take the hit. I’ll do something that isn’t easy because it’s better for me in the long run, and I’ll be proud of myself for finally doing it.
In the title of one of my posts last week, I said that I believe that I can do anything, and I do. But sometimes, in order to accomplish things that we’ve never accomplished, we have to change the way we do things. And as soon as I thoughtfully considered it, I knew that I’d rather see my numbers go up artificially than to starve myself which is really just makes reaching my goal harder.
People sometimes say that weight-loss is simple, and they’re wrong. If it were so easy, we wouldn’t struggle to do it. It’s hard (harder sometimes than others…) but I’m doing it. And I’m not fighting myself anymore. Instead, I’m going to respect my body and be thankful that I’m still a work in progress.